Japan got its long-awaited first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on Wednesday from alpine sit skier Momoka Muraoka, while veteran cross-country skier Yoshihiro Nitta added a silver.
After five days of competition, Japan's medal count in Pyeongchang is now seven (one gold, four silver, two bronze), surpassing the six medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze) won at the 2014 Sochi Games, which the national team had set as its goal to beat.
Competing in the women's giant slalom, Muraoka came away from her first run at Jeongseon Alpine Centre with a comfortable lead and followed up with an even faster second run to win her fourth medal in as many events at these games.
"Right now, I'm relieved. The moment I found out that I won, I was filled with all sorts of emotions like joy and a sense of accomplishment," the 21-year-old said.
The Netherlands' Linda van Impelen took silver and Claudia Loesch of Austria bronze.
Six-time Paralympian Nitta held the lead for most of the men's standing cross-country 1.5-kilometer classic sprint at Alpensia Biathlon Centre, but a mad dash by Alexandr Kolyadin of Kazakhstan on the final stretch pushed the Japanese back to second.
Canadian Mark Arendz and Ilkka Tuomisto of Finland tied for bronze, while Japanese 17-year-old Taiki Kawayoke was knocked out in the semifinals.
Nitta, 37, said he is not satisfied with the result and is already looking toward his next race.
"I collapsed at the finish line and I cried asking myself why I didn't get the gold. I'm definitely going to take the gold in the middle distance (10-km classical)," said Nitta, who will look to top the podium in the event for the first time since the 2010 Vancouver Games.
In the women's standing cross-country sprint, Yurika Abe narrowly missed out on qualifying for the semifinals.
The men on Japan's alpine skiing team came away empty-handed on Wednesday, with Takeshi Suzuki finishing fourth, missing a medal by less than 2 seconds, while Akira Kano slotted into fifth and Kenji Natsume 13th in the giant slalom's sitting category.
Taiki Morii, the reigning World Cup overall champion, who is hunting for his first Paralympic gold, failed to finish his first run.
At Gangneung Hockey Centre, the Japan para ice hockey team lost its fourth straight game, 6-1 against Norway.
Norway took control in the first period with goals by Audun Bakke and Rolf Einar Pedersen. Kazuhiro Takahashi answered in the second period -- Japan's second goal of these Paralympics, the first was against host South Korea -- only for Norway to strike back with three more of their own.
Pedersen completed a hat-trick in the third period to send the Japanese packing to the game that will decide last place against Sweden on Friday.